LA bans digital billboards again

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The Los Angeles City Council voted Friday for a permanent ban on new digital billboards, supergraphics, and advertising signs that face freeways. KPCC’s Brian Watt reports.

Brian Watt: This is hardly the first time the council has tried to limit the big, bright signs. The prohibition began seven years ago, and since then billboard companies have been fighting it in court with some success.

L.A.'s new permanent ban is an emergency measure – passed 10 days before a federal judge could rule against the city's enforcement of a temporary ban.

Anti-billboard activists such as Dennis Hathaway regard digital billboards as energy-hogging light pollution and potential traffic hazards. He says the supergraphic banners that wrap around the sides of buildings obstruct the view of the people inside.

Dennis Hathaway: They are there to make money for the sign companies and for the property owners on which the billboards are located, but they don't do anything for all the rest of us.

Watt: The sign companies and some building owners argue that the bans unconstitutionally limit free speech, and that the L.A. City Council has given preferential treatment to some sign companies over others.